Visit the Todra and Dades Gorges on route to Ouarazate
29.07.2016 - 29.07.2016 39 °C
Hotel - Berbere Palace, Ouarazate - Room 310
After a very big day yesterday and a great sleep last night, we were a bit slow to get moving this morning and rushed to meet Abdou by 9.30 am.
It's hot - 34 degrees already at 10 am but we all happy and drive along chatting. We are driving behind the High Atlas Mountains which are 700 miles long and 200 miles wide. They are stunning. The photos just don't do them justice. They remind us a lot of the Grand Canyon.
The first stop today is a local fossil shop. We have a guided tour of the yard and he explains how the sheets of rock are cut and shows us the fossils contained in them. There are calamari, snails, plants and all sorts of things. I have never seen so many fossils in pieces of rock in all my life. It is really quite amazing. There was one fabulous piece of rock that had these flowers fossilised in it. I would LOVE it to display at home but it is pretty much priceless. Also, there are bits of grass sticking out the back which would be a "no no" for Customs in Australia. Also, the cost of shipping such a weighty thing would be phenomenal. We bought a couple of little things as a memento.
These fences are built all along the edge of the road to try to keep the sand in, especially in a sand storm.
Photos of some locals and a berber tents. We saw quite a few of them yesterday, just plonked in the middle of nowhere with their sheep and goats grazing not too far away.
These are old wells. They have dried up now and are not in use but many years ago they were used as hide outs and ambushes against the marauding Christians.
We drive through the desert and then all of a sudden a bustling town appears, with great buildings and wide, well made roads. It's market day.
We stopped at Tingdad for morning nos nos. IT IS HOT! Phil and I have an icecream.
The scenery is amazing and I can't nod off or I might miss something. It is so dry and barren and then a lush green belt will appear.
We drove to Todra Gorge which is 600 feet high. It is steep and very popular with the locals as it has a small stream running through it. We got out of the car and walked for about a kilometre through the gorge and the peacefulness of it was spoilt by a guy trying to sell us some jewellery. He would just not take no for an answer. So we just walked on and ignored him and he finally gave up.
We called in to a berber carpet shop. We told them we were not interested in buying anything but they still wanted to show us their carpets, so we were presented with some sweet mint tea (that we are becoming to love), then our hands were sprinkled with rose water (just gorgeous) and then out came the carpets. I have always found Persian Carpets too busy for my liking, but I just loved these red berber carpets. I think the big one was about $1,000 AUD but we have no where for it to go in our house so we left the shop. The owner called me back and asked me to tell him how much I was willing to pay for it. I said I was sorry, but no, we are trying to down size, not add to our possessions and besides, it just wouldn't suit our house. His reply - "if it's in your heart, it will fit in your home"!
We decided to continue on to Ouarazate and not stop for lunch. We are eating too much, but I was worried that Abdou probably wanted to eat something than just an apple that he had.
Where are the gendarmmes when you need one?
They stop people all the time and always seem to be writing tickets for them. Abdou has been very happy this trip because when they see us in his car, they just wave him through. He said that when they stop him, they always find something wrong (even if there is nothing to find).
The changing landscape.
We arrived at our hotel at about 5 pm and it is just lovely. We have a suite of rooms. We went for a swim and the water is freezing. I just don't get it. It is an outdoor pool so you would think it would be quite warm - quite the opposite.
We had a nice buffet dinner in the dining room and then had our photo taken. We are supposed to be flying Air France from Casablanca to Paris to Dublin next Tuesday, and we have heard they are going on strike. Our travel agent in Canberra has made some more bookings with another airline for us but it will cost about $700 extra. Phil is emailing our Travel Insurance people to see if they will cover the cost, because we have to be in Dublin by a certain date to commence our next tour, that is booked and paid for. Fingers crossed!